Adopting Wearable Sensors as physiotherapy tools in patients with chronic neck-shoulder pain

Grace Szeto, Man Ha Tsang, Rufina Lau, Jay Dai

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Intensive use of smartphones and tablet computers is associated with prolonged static neck posture, contributing to chronic neck-shoulder pain among young people.
Purpose
Wearable postural sensors can be adopted as physiotherapy tools for patient education. This study investigates the effects of using this device for postural monitoring in the home setting.
Method
Two postural tracking devices: ALEX® (N5) and Upright Go® are selected as they can detect the cervical flexion angle and give a vibration feedback when threshold angle is exceeded. ALEX® (N5) is worn across the mid-cervical region (ear-to-ear) while Upright Go® (48x28mm) is attached via a headband on occiput area. Participants are instructed to use the device for 2 hours daily in 6 weeks. Subjective neck pain score (0-10) and cervical erector spinae (CES) muscle activity are compared at pre- and post-intervention in a smartphone texting task.
Results
Eight participants had a pilot trial with the Alex device, and reported a significant reduction of neck pain score (from 4.3+1.9 to 2.6+1.8). CES muscle activity was also significantly decreased during smartphone texting at post-intervention. A case study with Upright GO sensor also reported decreased neck pain (7 to 4/10) and reduced muscle activity in right CES (10%MVC to 7%) after 6 weeks.
Conclusion
The preliminary results showed favourable responses from participants in using these wearable sensors as postural biofeedback.
Implication
Wearable sensors can be a viable option for postural education at home especially during pandemic period. Physiotherapists can recommend such devices for patients’ home use as they are reasonably priced and user-friendly.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
EventWorld Physiotherapy Asia Western Pacific Regional Congress 2022 - , Hong Kong
Duration: 18 Jun 202220 Jun 2022

Congress

CongressWorld Physiotherapy Asia Western Pacific Regional Congress 2022
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
Period18/06/2220/06/22

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